Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control. It is not a disease but a common disorder experienced by many people. The severity of the condition varies from person to person. Some experience occasional urine leaks when sneezing, or coughing while others feel a strong urge to urinate, and cannot hold it.
It is important to understand that urine leakage is not an inherent part of aging, and some people do not have issues with holding urine, but many do. There are various incontinence treatments that a person may choose that face this problem. See a doctor if the condition is affecting your daily activities. In many cases, healthy lifestyle changes and medications help to eliminate or ease urinary incontinence.
When compared to men, women experience urinary incontinence more due to menopause and childbirth. This article discusses the conventional incontinence treatment options that your health professional may suggest.
It is best to leave the decision for treatment to medical experts, depending on the type of incontinence experienced and its severity. Certain health conditions can worsen urine leakage and best evaluated by a doctor or medical professional to guide in the decision of treatment and which is best.
Different Incontinence Treatment Options
The following treatments can be helpful for people suffering from urinary incontinence.
Healthy lifestyle changes can help ease urine and bladder leaks, some of the most common incontinence treatment options:
If one is overweight, consult your health practitioner about the different ways to lose weight. In most cases, when overweight people lose weight, the symptoms of urinary incontinence reduce. This can improve other medical conditions like diabetes and hypertension that are associated with urinary incontinence.
Constipation may worsen urinary incontinence. Increasing the intake of fiber in your diet helps to prevent constipation. Your health practitioner will guide you to determine the amount of fiber you should have, and different foods you should be eating.
Better Management of Fluid
If someone drinks a lot of fluids, then cutting down the amount can reduce urine leaks. For most people, 64 ounces of liquids per day is enough, but one may require more if they sweat a lot. It is recommended to a small drink amount of liquid at regular intervals during the day.
Stop drinking alcohol, and cutting down on caffeine and carbonated drinks can decrease the urgency to visit the bathroom.
Bladder training strengthens the bladder muscles. One technique of doing so is to visit the toilet only at specific times and not when the bladder is full, and you need to urinate.
In the beginning, some people may have to visit the bathroom every hour and increase the wait time gradually until it becomes three hours without any leaks.
Another way of retraining is to control the urge of urinating. This strengthens the muscles and allows the ability to hold urine.
This type of pelvic muscle exercise strengthens the muscles, and thus controls urination. It is particularly helpful in stress incontinence. The exercise is done in the following way:
Contract the pelvic muscles as if trying to stop the flow of urine, hold for a few seconds, and then relax for the same time. Start holding the muscles tight two seconds, and then gradually increase the hold time. Try doing this as many times as possible.
Various medicines can help ease urinary incontinence like alpha-blockers, anticholinergics, mirabegron, and low dose topical estrogen. Each medication must be prescribed by a medical doctor.
Do not buy over the counter drugs or medicines that were prescribed to loved ones for the same problem because every person’s health condition is different. A doctor is the best medical professional to recommend what therapy is best.
In this incontinence treatment, electrodes are temporarily inserted in the vagina to stimulate and strengthen the muscles. A patient may need several gentle treatments for months.
Following are the devices designed to treat women with incontinence:
A pessary is a stiff ring that is inserted inside the vagina. The device is used when a woman has had a prolapse due to incontinence. The device holds the bladder and does not allow urine to flow.
A device is inserted inside the vagina before a certain strenuous physical activity which can cause incontinence. The small tampon-like insert prevents leakage and has to be removed before urinating.
If lifestyle changes, medication, or devices do not help, a doctor may prescribe one of the surgical incontinence procedures, which may include:
- Bladder neck suspension surgery provides the required support to the urethra and the bladder neck. The doctor makes an opening in the abdomen under general or spinal anesthesia.
- Another surgical option is the sling procedure, which means stripping the tissue from the body and creating a pelvic sling. The sling is made of synthetic or mesh material, which helps keeps the urethra closed. This process is highly beneficial in stress incontinence.
- In men, an artificial urinary sphincter is inserted. This is a small device, filled with fluid, and is placed around the bladder neck to help keep the sphincter stay closed until the person is ready to urinate. It is highly beneficial for men who have had incontinence as a result of an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer.
- Prolapse surgery is done in women suffering from mixed incontinence. The surgery includes a combination of a sling procedure and prolapse surgery.
Other Incontinence Treatment Measures
Here are some solutions not recommended as incontinence treatments but essential in some cases to alleviate discomfort and inconvenience.
Today, lightweight pads are available which can be worn daily without any hassle. Men can also use a drip collector. These products help in absorbing urine leaks and do not make one feel uncomfortable.
Cathedrals are used when there is incomplete emptying of the urine bladder, which leads to incontinence. It is a soft tube, inserted in the urethra several times a day to drain the urine bladder.
Incontinence Treatments Frequently Asked Questions
Is Urinary Incontinence Curable?
Around 80% of people who have experienced urinary incontinence can be remitted. The best result depends on the right diagnosis and following the incontinence treatment suggested by a doctor to improve the symptoms.
What Foods Soothe the Urinary Bladder?
Eliminating foods that irritate your bladder and consuming soothing foods can help reduce incontinence. Some soothing foods include:
- Low-fat milk
- Vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, cabbage, carrot, Brussels sprouts, etc.
- White and sweet potatoes
What Is the Best Incontinence Treatment?
The treatment for incontinence depends on the type one is experiencing. First, making healthy lifestyle changes can help reduce incontinence or even get rid of it. If you still experience the problem, the doctor will suggest the right treatment, which can be medication, surgery, or medical devices.
Can Overactive Bladder Go on Its Own?
Overactive bladder is a chronic condition, and does not go on its own, but can get better. Upon recent onset of symptoms, doctors recommend Kegel exercises which help strengthen the pelvic muscles, and help provide relief from incontinence.
We hope this article has helped with the understanding of the basics of incontinence treatment and options that are available. If you have any question, please call us at 1-833-532-5668 or book an appointment.